So my mate Chantelle has had this brilliant idea of getting a group of us together who’d like to make better choices about our health and wellbeing for a bit of support and encouragement: she’s called it the Good Life Gang, and it’s a Facebook group anyone can join.
I thought I might share the few things that have helped me over the last 10 or so years that I’ve been trying to move my body in a healthy way – I’m not into extreme exercise, but I like to do what I can to get off my butt and get the ole muscles moving/increase my heart health.
This is where I tell you I’m not a doctor or a professional, so seek their advice before you start.
What I am, though, is a work-at-home mum who does a a mix of walking (occasionally jogging), yoga, and at-home strength training. I have just started experimenting with home dance classes but I’m about as co-ordinated as an albatross. It does make me laugh though, and gets the heart pumping so it’s a win-win. Plus, the kids love it so we all have a bit of a dance break when we can to get the endorphins going.
I used to be a member of Fernwood gym for a few years, and I enjoyed using their equipment and going to the classes, but these days as a mum to a four- and a two-year-old, I just do everything at home.
I have done plenty of yoga classes, including pregnancy yoga, but I like the flexibility (heheh) of doing it at home at my own time. I used to have two DVDs I watched to death (one was a Ginger Spice yoga series, you can laugh now), but nowadays I just follow the free classes of Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. She’s got a great range for every level, and she always keeps it gangsta. I like the spirituality aspect of yoga, but I do prefer a bit of a practical approach.
She also has a 30-day Yoga Challenge to get you into the mood – it was really helpful for me getting back into it after I stopped doing yoga for quite a while after number two was born.
Walking has been a bit of a non-negotiable for me since forever – it’s easy to do and requires no equipment. It’s what you can do when you can’t do anything else. I know it can be useful to keep a log or something else to keep you accountable and there’s all manner of devices and machines that go ping to help you to stay on track these days, but I don’t bother. A few years ago I signed up to RealAge (it’s called something different now) and used their Activity Tracker because it was in prehistoric times before iphones and their apps or fitbits and it was a bit of fun to chart my progress. You could always just use a regular ole calendar, but I liked how the Activity Tracker gave me a badge as a reward, haha. I always do at least 30 minutes as often as I can, but I’ll take what I can get.
I’ve also half-done the Couch to 5k app, which I found to be awesome when I decided to start jogging (with a soft ‘j’) regularly. It is a gentle start and before you know it, you can run farther than you ever have before and it’s easier every day. I didn’t complete it as I cut my foot quite badly about 5 weeks in and then it was too hot to run outside. Then it was too cold. Now I’ll have to see about reviving it – I really enjoyed it.
Oh man, this is outrageously hilarious. I cannot do this with anyone watching.
At first I decided to try the Carmen Electra Fit to Strip box set because hey I was in my 20s and it was cheap at JB Hi-Fi. There is a disc that’s just dancing (hip-hop style) and no stripping so thought I could give that a go. It didn’t quite work out, but then I found the aerobic warm-up and toning exercises on the first disc and I did them for years. They were great! And I could keep all my clothes on!
I recently found a link to Dance Fitness with Jessica in my inbox and decided to check it out. I cannot do any of the harder dances, but the beginner level ones are mostly do-able! I also love the ones that she does at home in her garage, kids wandering around all over the place – she even accidentally whacks one in the head, which gave me a good laugh as I tripped over my own child for the eighth time. It’s cool to do for something different, and I find that I’m concentrating so much on trying to do the moves that I forget to HATE THAT I’M EXERCISING! Such a bonus.
At home strength-training
I’ve always done some form of this throughout the years – from DVD workouts to exercises I found in books, to stuff I learned in classes and brought home with me. A few years ago I asked a friend who was a personal trainer to develop a lounge-room workout and it was very similar to what I was already doing. You can find it here (although Linda no longer is available for classes). I had originally asked her for “whatever a regular mum with two small children can do to tone up and be cardio healthy” and she totally delivered! It’s a really great way of getting simple moves in during the day, at home, around your work or kids.
I’m still working for that ass, for real.
I am REALLY cautious when I listen or read advice about health and nutrition given online. I don’t abide bullshit and fear-mongering and I prefer to stick to common sense stuff backed up by science. So I’ve listened to plenty of podcasts and there are only a very few I recommend.
I found The Healthy Moving Podcast when I did Jen’s Stay at Home yoga program for a few months, and I really liked how she focused on how we should be conscious of how move our bodies all day every day, from a base of proper alignment, rather than 30 minutes of rapid exercise and then sitting around for the rest of the day.
I also don’t mind a few of Chalene Johnson’s episodes about movement and sleep. The diet-related ones I raise an eyebrow at, but you can find interesting and useful things in amongst all the topics she talks about. Chalene is best known for her workout videos and home fitness programs she developed in the US and it’s interesting to hear how her perspectives on fitness have evolved.
So these are my go-tos for getting my butt into gear – I hope they help!
If you have been doing something that works, please share in the comments – I love learning new things, and you just might help a friend 🙂
*image from here, modified by me.